A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
It’s Thursday 14th August and do you know what that means?
It’s Launch Day for ‘EARTH FLIGHT’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Earth Flight by Janet Edwards
The thrilling conclusion to the Earth Girl trilogy. Jarra never wanted to be a celebrity. All she ever wanted was to gain some respect for the people left on Earth: the unlucky few whose immune system prevents them from portalling to other planets.
But now Jarra’s the most famous Earth girl in the universe – and not everyone in the universe is happy about it, nor the fact that she has found love with a norm. Jarra’s actions have repercussions that spread further than she ever could have imagined.
It’s time to risk it all!
Happy Book Birthday for Earth Flight.
Earth Flight is the 3rd book in the Earth Girl trilogy. When you first wrote Earth Girl, did you envision the book as the first in a trilogy ?
Believe it or not, this started with what I thought was an idea for a short story. A 28th century future, where humanity travelled by interstellar portal between hundreds of colony worlds in star systems scattered across space, and having an immune system that meant you could only survive on Earth was regarded as a disability. By the time I’d finished thinking through that future, how the children born with the disability were dumped on Earth to be raised in institutions, and treated as second class citizens, it was fairly clear this was too big an idea to fit into a short story.
Jarra, your heroine, has such a strong personality yet she still shares all the universal teenage concerns that readers can identify with ( besides the whole being a non portal using ‘Handicapped’, being a celebrity and making interstellar contact and all). How did you connect with Jarra’s voice? Did you find it easier or harder to write her story in books 2 and 3?
It wasn’t really that I connected with Jarra’s voice. It was more that she was stomping round in my head, yelling her story at me. I merely cowered in submission, and wrote it down. She continued stomping all through books 2 and 3. The main difference was that sorting out all the plot strands was more complicated in the later books.
You have a prologue in Earth Flight. I’ve heard long discussions among writers about the pros and cons of a prologue. Did the other two books also have prologues and if so why did you choose to start the books that way? (By the way I think your last line of the prologue for Earth Flight is one of the best hook lines I’ve heard, “ But mostly I hope I’m not reading this, because if I am then my memory and everything that made me a person is gone and this me is dead.” )
I wouldn’t generally choose to have prologues, but the first book, Earth Girl, started with a few pages where Jarra speaks directly to the reader. Both Earth Star and Earth Flight have very brief prologues, only a page or two long, where she speaks to the reader again. This is to convey the immediacy of the fact this is Jarra’s story and she’s telling it herself. The prologues are also a chance to give a quick update on the current situation for the benefit of both old and new readers.
When I started reading Earth Flight I came to the series cold. I love Sci Fi but I purposefully didn’t find out a lot about the series so that I could see how it would be to come to it in book three. I found the characters immediate and engaging and the world so amazingly intricate. Even though I was catching up as I went along I wanted to spend more time with these characters and discover the story with them. Do you find it difficult to dabble in enough back-story to keep new readers involved while keeping your loyal readers equally engaged?
Sequels are always difficult, because you’re really writing for three sets of readers at once. People who read the first book only yesterday. People who read the first book a year ago and may need the odd reminder of the fine details. People who haven’t read the first book at all. When your story is set in a future world that’s very different from today, it’s especially tricky trying to keep it understandable for new readers without repeating things too much. I’m pleased you were able to jump straight into book 3 and enjoy it. If possible though, I’d advise readers to start with book 1 to understand the subtleties properly, and to see full story arc of Jarra’s journey.
The world (or should I say worlds) that you create is so complex. Do you enjoy the ‘terra forming’ of new cultures and planets like the amazing world of the Earth Girl series?
It’s fascinating dreaming up future worlds and societies. I know an incredible amount about the future worlds of the Earth Girl trilogy, a lot of which can’t be in the books because there isn’t room and it isn’t part of the story. It’s important I know those things though, because these are the worlds that shape my characters. If Jarra had grown up on a different world, she’d have been a very different person. The first book is called Earth Girl because everything Jarra is, everything she does, is because she’s an Earth girl.
The characters are also very richly drawn and fleshed out. When you write is it the character that draws you into a story or is it the world in which the story takes place? Or both? Or neither? Which came first in Earth Girl- Jarra or the worlds connected by portals?
It’s the characters that bring a story to life. With Earth Girl, the worlds and the portals came first. I’d got this future world and society in my head for a few months, like an empty stage, but I didn’t know what the story was. Then Jarra stomped onto the stage, and started shouting it to me. This was her story. She was a girl who’d been dumped by her parents at birth because she was less than perfect. She’d grown up in institutions, watching vids made on other worlds, where comedians made jokes about people like her. She’d looked up at the stars in the sky, and known others could just casually portal to hundreds of distant worlds, while she was stuck on Earth. Jarra didn’t just have a chip on her shoulder, she had an entire forest. This Earth girl wasn’t going to meekly accept being a second class citizen; she was going to do something about it!
In the style of JK, did you have the ending of the trilogy all worked out from the beginning or did Jarra’s story unfold to you as you wrote the books?
I don’t plot in detail, but I knew the end image of Earth Flight when I was writing the beginning of Earth Girl. Jarra was on an epic journey. It was soon obvious that full journey wouldn’t fit into one book, but the end of Earth Girl was a milestone moment on the journey, so the book would stand alone by itself.
I love the connection of archaeology and Sci fi in this book. ( There aren’t nearly enough books out there about digging in my opinion.) What made you combine these two interests? Do you have a background in archaeology?
Jarra has my love of history, and my feeling that the living, breathing past is all around us. History was my favourite subject at school, but my parents wouldn’t let me study it. That means I have no background in archaeology, but Jarra’s 28th century Earth is very different from that of our time, and so is its archaeology. Most of the population of Earth left for hundreds of new colony worlds in the 24th century, and there was a near total collapse of civilisation that led to a lot of technology being lost. All the major cities are just ruins now, and teams of archaeologists are searching endless areas of collapsed and burned out buildings, searching for clues to lost technology stored in stasis boxes. They need to find them fast, before the stasis boxes run out of power, and it’s dangerous work.
What is your favourite moment in Earth Flight? I’m only allowed one? Roof of the world!
What was the hardest bit to write? Any bit where Jarra finds it painfully hard to tell me, and the reader, what happened. That can be because it’s a dreadful memory, or she’s embarrassed to talk about something deeply personal.
Who would most enjoy this series?
That’s difficult to answer, because the people who’ve contacted me to say they love the books vary so wildly. Teenagers. Great grandparents. Male. Female. Archaeologists. Military veterans. Engineers. Possibly the answer is anyone who wants to go on a fun, exciting ride through a 28th century future.
What is your favourite character name in Earth Flight? ( You have some amazing names in this book. I love it when I’m reading a book and I end up saying some of the character’s names aloud to see if they fit how I’m picturing the character. Am I the only one that does that?)
No you aren’t. My favourite name from Earth Flight is Drago Tell Dramis. He’s devastatingly good looking, mostly Hispanic in appearance, and desperately trying to avoid responsibility.
And lastly, this is the 3rd book in a trilogy. It’s been an exciting ride with Jarra and her friends on their journey. Do you feel that you have finished with their story? Does anyone else in their world have a story that you would like to tell or are you ready to start building a whole new world in a new book?
In other words… what’s up next?
What’s currently happening is some free short stories on my website for people who’d like a glimpse into the background of some of the characters in the Earth Girl trilogy. Watch my website for news of other things. There are plenty of other stories I could write set in Jarra’s future, but there are other worlds in my head as well. I suffer from having far too many ideas for books than I could ever write.
Thanks so much for answering my questions Janet.
Again, congrats on Earth Flight which is out now!!!!!!!
Janet Edwards is the author of the Earth Girl trilogy – EARTH GIRL, EARTH STAR and EARTH FLIGHT. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.
Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.
Mo’s book for 7+, “My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish” is published with Macmillan in Feb 2013 in the UK and in July 2013 in the US. Her second book in that series( My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish The Sea-Quel) will come out in July 2013 in the UK and in winter 2013 in the US. She also wrote six books in the Ladybird series “Puddle the Naughtiest Puppy.” Mo worked as an actress and as a storyteller, touring theatres and schools all across the UK and Ireland. As well as her stories for children Mo has also writen for radio and theatre and has performed her own comedy material in London and Edinburgh.